Aside from simply existing, one of the most amazing things Pete Davidson has done is open the doors of public conversation when it comes to mental health. To everyone who’s about to LMK that he is not the only celebrity doing this, I am aware, but I just love Pete and want to give him some credit, mmkay? Look, as progressive as we think we are in 2019, mental health is not generally a topic of conversation at Sunday brunch because it’s complicated, intimidating and, let’s be honest, so f*cking stigmatized. And that needs to change because we all have 99 problems, but asking for help when we need it shouldn’t be one. One of the reasons I was initially hesitant to give therapy a go was because I felt embarrassed to admit that I needed some assistance dealing with a few things that I couldn’t be bothered to face, and the idea of paying someone to listen to me whine about my very #blessed life didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me—especially when my insurance company basically said “lol nah” when I asked if they’d cover it. Just fun American things!
But I quickly realized that therapy isn’t about complaining to someone who responds with “How does that make you feel?” I started seeing a therapist because I felt like I was really angry and upset all the time and I had no idea why, but it was definitely becoming an issue. Just ask my parents, who truly hated me for three full months this past summer! There’s always a root cause for an emotion to bubble up, but I was an emotionally immature child (seven months ago) and didn’t know what that cause was. Maybe it was my roommate at the time deciding to break our lease a full 10 months early, or maybe it was my dream company ghosting me after three rounds of interviews, or maybe it was the guy I thought I was dating who was also dating a few other people, too! Who knows, though, right? So I went to therapy to deal with those specific problems, but also to learn how to properly deal with life in general so that I don’t end up killing someone Game of Thrones-style for accidentally bumping into me on the street or something. Look, I’m no mental health professional, but literally everyone can benefit from therapy, and that’s just a true fact. Here’s why.
Therapy Offers A Fresh Perspective
As much as you want your friends’ advice on whether or not you should get back together with your ex who cheated on you (no), they may not be the best people to ask because they obviously hate this guy. They’ve wiped your tears and plotted his death, so no matter how sorry he is, they are not on his side. A therapist, however, will listen to you (like really listen) so that when problems like these arise, she can give you honest and helpful advice on what to do. And, of course, that advice is perfectly tailored to who you are so that you can actually follow it.
For example, when I am dealing with something, I need to take action in order to make myself genuinely feel and be better; I can’t just wait for time to heal all wounds like some people. But sometimes there really isn’t anything I can do, so I just have to change my mental approach to the situation and that in and of itself is doing something. But I can’t do that without a little bit of help from someone who isn’t one of my friends because they are too close to me and the situation at hand. And that’s why I f*cking love therapy! My therapist’s only job is to advise me to do what’s best for me, so if that’s to keep hooking up with the guy who fully has a girlfriend, that’s what she will tell me to do. Let me rephrase: she never tells me what to do, but she makes me talk it through so that I can land on a plan of action on my own. Sidenote: the answer is never to keep hooking up with the guy who has a girlfriend. Learned that one in therapy!
Therapy Can Help You See Your Best Version Of Yourself
It goes without saying that our lives can be nearly perfect, but that little voice in our heads will tell us to put all of our energy into fixing that one teensy thing that isn’t quite there yet, and is therefore a life-ruiner. Therapy can help you tell that little voice to shut the f*ck up and focus on what’s good in life. Of course, everyone’s methods are different, but if you go in with an open mind, you are more likely to see the light. That is about as cheesy as I can get without losing my lunch, but it’s all true. The thing is, even in my darkest days, I never thought really negative things about myself, but there have been a few things I wish I could change (my blinding anger, horrendous taste in men, and ability to take literally everything in life for granted) but can’t because they make me who I am. Therapists will help you learn to genuinely accept the personality traits you don’t necessarily want to advertise to prospective dates so that you can be happy with who you are. The goal of therapy isn’t to change yourself into someone you’d rather be, it’s to get to know yourself and want to introduce that self to other cool people so that you can all sit around and soak up each other’s awesomeness.
Therapists Are Trained To See Things You Can’t See
I don’t mean habits like spinning a pen or twirling your hair. I mean deeply rooted things that you don’t notice because it’s a part of who you are. For example, my therapist and I usually talk about what’s going on in my dating life because I am 25 years old and living in New York, so my dating life is basically one really long and unfunny episode of Friends. So after hearing about everything from boyfriends to FWB, she’s gotten to know my vibe pretty well and deduced that I just love a guy with issues and that nice and ~normal~ guys bore me. So she dropped that cute little bomb and then I kind of shriveled up and died because, what a thing to learn about myself! But I will give her props for hitting the nail on the f*cking head.
She pointed out such a painfully obvious pattern that neither I nor my friends noticed, even though it has been taking over my entire life since 2013. This is what therapists do, people! So now that I know this about myself, my therapist and I can figure out how to address it so that I don’t end up with a raging alcoholic who will cheat on me and bring back some other woman’s child for me to raise. Now that I know this about myself, I can make a positive change that will impact my life for the better, and I am 100% on board for that.
Therapy Can Help You Deal With Sh*t
As I previously mentioned, I started going to therapy because I hated everyone who even looked in my direction, but there was no specific “problem,” per se. However, three sessions in, I found out a family member was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer and, let me just say, thank the lord I had someone who wasn’t another family member to talk to about it. Not that anyone, professional or not, can say something and make the pain and fear of losing someone you love just go away, but these people can help you manage your pain and fear so that you are expressing these emotions in a productive and non-tornado-like way. Also, let’s not forget that as much as therapists are social workers, they are also people who have pain of their own and they can use their own experiences and training to help guide you through yours. Look, I am an emotional betch who cries every time I watch Click, so you can imagine how distraught I was back in October when I found out about this diagnosis. So my therapist helped me channel my emotions into conversation, which really proved to me that the only way past something difficult is through it. Those are the truest words I’ve ever heard and I now really believe them.
Therapy Establishes A Routine
I am a creature of habit and live on routines like most people live on food, so this part of therapy did not need any explaining for me, but for the rest of you hippies, read on. There was once a time when I felt like I didn’t have enough “material” for therapy once a week, so I suggested meeting every other week, and my therapist shot that idea down rather quickly, because the whole purpose of therapy is to settle into a routine (among many other purposes). She basically said that, especially in the beginning, it’s important to meet every week because we were getting to know each other and you can’t get to know someone if you are seeing each other every two weeks for an hour. Imagine dating someone and being like, “Yeah, let’s just go out to dinner tonight and then again in two weeks! Sound good?” No, that sounds horrible! That seems like every time you meet up, so much time will have gone by that you may as well be going on a first date forever and then your life will be like another Adam Sandler movie that breaks my fragile heart, 50 First Dates. So we meet once a week and it is probably the highlight of my week, which sounds sad, but it really isn’t because what is better than realizing your truth every seven days?
One final word, and dating analogy: finding a good therapist is a lot like dating. You might not click with the first therapist you make an appointment with. You might not click with the first two. You get where I’m going. It’s important to find someone you trust, and feel comfortable opening up to. If that’s not the first therapist you find, don’t give up on the process altogether. If done correctly, it can be so helpful.
Images: Giphy (2); Unsplash